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WEB HOSTING ARTICLES

Web Browser-based Feed Aggregators
By: Barzan 'Tony' Antal
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    2007-12-26

    Table of Contents:
  • Web Browser-based Feed Aggregators
  • Standard Browsers
  • RSS Extensions for Firefox
  • RSS Extensions continued
  • Closing Thoughts

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    Web Browser-based Feed Aggregators - RSS Extensions for Firefox


    (Page 3 of 5 )


    RSS Extensions for Firefox

    Firefox was released in 2004 and has grown to be the second most popular browser on the Internet. In terms of popularity, Internet Explorer still ranks first. Since IE comes preinstalled with Windows, the average user may not even look for other alternate browsers.

    (Courtesy of W3Schools - Browser Statistics)


    In the above statistics, IE stands for Internet Explorer, Fx for Firefox, Moz for the Mozilla Suite (Netscape, Gecko, etc.), while S is for Safari, and O represents Opera. Statistics can be misleading, indeed, but it really looks like Firefox maintains its growth!

    Having this in mind, we dedicate the rest of this article to Firefox extensions that offer practical feed aggregating functions. We'll review some of the most awarded, popular, and best performing extensions by pointing out their pros and cons, features, and intuitive design. Firefox is no doubt an amazing browser and thanks to extensions we can improve it and make it worthy for elegant feed reading too.

    Sage - (download: here)

    Sage is a light-weight feed reader extension for Firefox. It supports both Atom and RSS formats. It integrates with the traditional "Live Bookmark"-like feed and bookmark storage. Sage is able to import and export OPML feed lists, and accommodate Technorati and RSS feed search engines. Apparently, it also supports 22 locales (at the time of writing).


    (For other screenshots check out this page)

    As you can see from the attached screenshot above, the displaying mode is "newspaper"-like, instead of the legacy "view each feed as a web page" style, with shrunken content. Moreover, users have the ability to customize via style sheets, because the contents are rendered as HTML tags.

    It sports a function called "Feed Discovery," which is a detection system for feeds. It displays the list of syndicated feeds per site, their title, and format along with the last update. Based on this information, you can choose whether to subscribe or not. Additionally, you can configure the item's order and make it chronological.

    Some of the drawbacks of Sage extensions are the lack of an option to configure the time interval between each syndication, and some way to manage tab functions independently of the feed display mode. Because it integrates totally into Firefox, all of these are based on your standard Firefox browser configurations. Nothing new.

    All in all, Sage brings a few worthwhile additions to Firefox such as the "newspaper view," titles in sidebar, and importing/exporting OPML format. Its design is intuitive, and it supports rich text and media content as well; you can customize the display mode via styles. There are also dozens of "ready-to-run" styles from which you can choose.

    RSS Ticker - (download: here)

    RSS Ticker is not an "all in one" RSS extension, it's a sort of crawler that serves its purpose by scrolling feed entries across your screen. You can use the ticker at the top, below your bookmarks menu, or on the bottom, below your status bar. Of course, you're able to customize aspects, such as scroll speed, smoothness, link width, font size, color, filtering on specific keywords. The list of features is impressive!


    (RSS Ticker below the URL / address bar)


    Additionally, it enhances the user's experience by adding control features, like ticking back and forth using the scroll button of your mouse to read older/newer entries if you missed one. You can choose to open a particular feed in a new tab or window or in your currently active window. Moreover, there's an option to manually synchronize.

    Oh, and despite its name, RSS Ticker supports both formats (Atom and RSS). Summing up, RSS Ticker is a really functional, "does what it promises and even more" kind of extension. It is a notifier jam-packed with features.

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